January 6, 2020
Teens: How to Free Yourself When Social Media Has You Shackled
Written by Rachel Eddins
In today’s world, it can feel like every single day brings a new advancement in technology. As things become increasingly digital, it becomes more and more acceptable to spend time in our alternate realities. One of the most popular virtual temptations is also one of the most dangerous: social media.
Social media is a wonderful way to connect with others and can be harmless when used in moderation. However, social media can also quickly becomes addictive and leave its users feeling like slaves to their screens.
Teenagers seem to be particularly vulnerable to the shackles of social media. The pressure to gain virtual followers and friends and the need to receive more “likes” is evident in the halls of nearly every high school.
If you are a teen struggling to break free of social media’s chains, you are not alone.
What can you do? Here are four strategies to free yourself if you are struggling with a social media screen addiction.
Set Limits on Screen Time
If you currently spend hours a day on social media, you cannot expect to cut it out of your life overnight. One of the simplest ways you can fight back against the powers of social media is to set limits on screen time.
Whether you use the Screen Time limits function on your smartphone or simply track your use manually, set a maximum number of minutes and stick to it. Start with attainable goals, such as one hour per day, and slowly reduce the time each week.
Involve Your Friends and Family
Breaking an addiction of any kind is challenging. People who successfully break their addictions typically have either formal or informal support groups, and many have both.
If the urge to spend time on social media is overwhelming, reach out to friends and family members for help. Ask for them to hold you accountable to your screen time limits and to distract you when you are tempted.
What if your friends share in your addiction? Set goals as a group to participate in social media fasts or reduce screen time when you are together.
Find Other Activities to Fill Your Time
If you decrease or cut out your social media usage but do not fill that time with anything new, you will likely feel anxious and tempted to revert to old habits.
Therefore, after you have removed the unhealthy activity, you must then replace it with a better, healthier alternative. While you are learning to decrease your social media intake, try something new such as volunteering, playing a sport, learning a new skill, joining a club, spending time outside, cooking or baking—anything that will enrich your life and keep your mind busy.
Remove Obvious Reminders
The urge to check your social media accounts may always be in the back of your mind, but you can take active steps to remove obvious reminders and temptations.
Are your Facebook notifications enabled? Disable them. Does your Instagram app sit prominently on the homepage of your smartphone? Delete it.
Also, require manual passwords instead of a thumbprint or face recognition. Hide triggering people or posts from your news feed. Do anything you can to make accessing and thinking about social media more difficult.
Reach Out For Help
Social media addiction is a very real, very prevalent problem in today’s world. Many who do not believe they have a problem or insist that they are completely in control are actually slaves to the shackles of social media.
Teens who are struggling to fight back should not have to struggle alone. If you are ready to retake control of your life and free yourself from the bondage of your screens, reach out for support today. Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX, has experienced therapists that specialize in teen counseling and anxiety. Call us today at 832-323-2355 or book an appointment online.